Have a great school snapshot?

Contact Lesha Engels about posting it to this page.


Newcastle Students Learn to Be Writers of Their Own World

Posted by User Not Found on 6 April, 2016

“A book series has familiar characters and as you read through the series it almost makes them feel like family,” explained Newcastle Elementary School Principal Rich Mellish as he shared his love for books and reading during his introduction of local guest Author Suzanne Selfors, during her Newcastle author visit.

Students in grades 1-5 eagerly sat in rows as Suzanne shared some of her first childhood stories, the inspiration behind a few of her books, about the publishing process, and why being a voracious reader is important for writing.

In her novel “To Catch A Mermaid,” Suzanne explained that the idea was originally inspired by tide pools near her home on Bainbridge Island and a folk tale her grandma used to tell her about mermaids. She went on to note that as an author you can come up with anything, because you are the writer of your own world, the master of that particular mystical world. And because of that, Suzanne’s mermaids aren’t the pretty, glittery creatures often seen on TV; she imagined her mermaids looked like deep sea animals because mermaids are never seen on the surface of water.

As part of her Imaginary Veterinary series, Suzanne discussed the inspiration behind her book “The Sasquatch Escape.” She explained that this book was inspired when she had to take her own dog to the vet and while she was waiting she imagined what would happen if her veterinarian only treated dragons, unicorns, and sasquatches.

To get students’ imaginations involved, Suzanne had 2 student volunteers dress up as the two main characters, Ben and Pearl, from the Imaginary Veterinary series. Suzanne then showed students things Ben and Pearl might find at the vet clinic and students in the audience shared what sort of creature the item might come from and why they were visiting the vet. When Suzanne showed a couple of glittery neon colored eggs, one student suggested it was from a Phoenix that was raising eggs for a dragon and unicorn that had wanted to have a baby.

Before the end of the presentation, Newcastle Librarian Laura Berry shared with students how the writing and reading lessons they had learned in their classrooms tied into many of the things Suzanne had talked about, especially her writing and editing processes.

Along with a school-wide assembly, Suzanne visited classrooms to talk with students and sign books. While visiting Mrs. Thomas’ first grade class, Suzanne was surprised to learn that the class had read the entire Imaginary Veterinary series together and excited when the first graders presented her with a book they had written based on their favorite characters from the series. During the book signing, many students discussed their favorite characters or parts of books. A first grader, Collin, even gave Suzanne a letter suggesting a new book idea with different mythical characters.